Day 7

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Origin:        Mellor, Lancashire
Destination:   Kendal environs, Cumbria
Waypoints:     Longridge, Lancaster, Carnforth
Lunch:         sandwiches bought and eaten in Lancaster
Cake:          no cake
Accommodation: private
Dinner:        private
Google Maps:   part 1, part 2, part 3
Distance:      59.9mi
Ascent:        2293ft by Google

For this day. I had figured out no fewer than three different routes, with differing levels of hilliness. We went for the least hilly one, which takes you through the centre of Lancaster, and makes for a relatively short day given the only moderate hills. I'll say more about the other two at the bottom.

Just about to leave Mellor, we suffered a sudden downpour... these things happen, and we kept on without delay. We took the earlier Abbot Brow route onto the A59, which normally we could have avoided via Showley Road; that road was closed on our visit, but I have shown this latter option on the route. It adds a little climbing, but probably not much actual effort, since the predominant direction is down.

Similarly, the Google map promised an earlier exit from the A59, by the Shajan Restaurant, but it didn't look like a road to us, so we kept on to the main junction. The OS map shows it as a bridleway with some sort of surface at least for the first while; it may be worth a pop if you find it (diversion 1), especially if you do Showley Road (then you'd just head straight over the A59). I haven't used this as the main route because I'm dubious of its quality.

From there, it's on to Ribchester and Longridge. Since I had broken my phone the previous day, I wasn't able to follow the pre-planned route very closely. Instead we opted to follow NCN 90 and then 6 (thankfully both on-road ones, so free of Sustrans silliness). continuing as far as Galgate. This worked well, so it's what I've mapped here. It's a not-too-hilly route that criss-crosses the M6 and railway line. Coming down into Galgate traffic lights, you want the little right-turn immediately before the lights— no need to wait!

From Galgate we cut through Lancaster University campus and down into the city centre (where I bought myself a new second-hand phone). Our route into the city centre was a bit indirect, crossing straight over the A6 to take the parallel Ashton Road. I've also done the A6 route and it's fine. Coming in on Ashton Road, you can avoid the big roundabout by taking a left to cut through the front of the hospital (even though it claims to be a no-through road).

Getting out of Lancaster, where we had broken for lunch. again we were led astray by Google route-finding. It wanted us to head up Moor Lane and then take some steps down onto the towpath. Although I was trying to avoid towpaths, this one is worth doing because it takes you over the Lune Aqueduct; on a sunny summer's afternoon this is a spectacular sight. So I've instead mapped a route here that heads onto the towpath in a more sensible fashion. Follow the one-way system through Lancaster, taking the right onto Chapel Street after the bus station, then left at the big church (The Friary) onto St Leonard's Gate. A little further, right onto Green Street will take you to the towpath without any need to lug your bike down steps. (Google tells me that St Leonard's Gate has since become one-way, the wrong way for this route. I'm not sure if this is temporary or permanent. Either way, there will be a similar route to pop onto the canal in this area, but you may have to find it yourself.)

Yet more Google towpathery followed in Carnforth; I've routed around that this time, by routing along the Nether Beck road; we did eventually extricate ourselves from the towpath and onto this road. If you want to catch the centre of Carnforth including its famous railway station, you'll have to head in an double back. Or perhaps not: further along Nether Beck we were caught out by another unnoticed bit of towpathery, and were forced to take the A6070 up to Burton in Kendal before cutting over Cinderbarrow Lane (making a brief stop to wait for some cows, and tell the rhotic-Lancastrian farmer our journey) towards the Yealands. Given that, it better might be to head into the centre of Carnforth and head for Millhead, Warton and Yealand Redmayne (diversion 2). That's 0.1mi less, but 213ft more climbing, compared to the main the route shown here.

We also hit a snag near Oxenholme, where the back road starting at the Punch Bowl pub (no name, but “unsuitable for heavy goods vehicles”) was closed. We instead had to take the A65 down towards the village, then climb back up to Hayclose Lane. I've left the A65-avoiding route here, although it does involve a bit more climbing overall (79ft more according to Google; same distance).

We were aiming for Meal Bank to stay with my aunt and uncle (where our arrival was delayed by a “beached lorry” having got thoroughly stuck on a super-narrow lane heading down to the village), but that's not a place where most people will find accommodation. Oxenholme is a closest bet (among others, the Station Inn has rooms) but I've chosen Kendal here (as diversion 3 to end the day). Another option is perhaps Sedbergh, which had been our fallback plan, but matches better with the hillier options for the day, of which more below. The Kendal option also ties in with one of the optional diversions for the next day

As mentioned Sedbergh makes more sense if you want to try the hillier variations for this day. They take in some famous scenery, including the Trough of Bowland and parts of the Yorkshire Dales. They are (in increasingly hilliness) via Hornby and Kirkby Lonsdale (to Sedbergh), and via Bentham, Ingleton and Dent (to Sedbergh). There is an even more challenging option via Fleet Moss, which I learned about from our friendly MAMILs... the classic Fleet Moss climb begins around Oughtershaw, reaching the summit before heading then down to Hawes. (I had thought there was also a more westerly approach from the south, but it is a bridleway rather than a road.) To get to Oughtershaw you would probably head north-east from Slaidburn, then Otterburn, Winterburn, Hetton and Threshfield, then up to Kettlewell and Buckden. For that, I'd allow an extra day!

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Content updated at Thu 19 Mar 15:45:00 GMT 2020.
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